Twenty one is considered an age when you still don't know what the real world is all about and life's many lessons are yet to be learnt.
But 21-year-old Harsh Vardhan Kabra had a harsh brush with reality at a very young age. He met with an accident three years ago while crossing a railway track following which he lost his right hand (above elbow) and right leg (below knee). But, he is glad that he had a miraculous escape.
Today, he leads a 'normal' life, but what makes him different is his passion towards swimming. Harsh, who used to swim just as a hobby prior to the accident, today does not miss his swimming or his gym workout sessions.
"I met someone at the 12th National Paralympic Swimming Championship held in Chennai last year, who suggested that I start swimming again. He introduced me to my coach in Bangalore and I resumed swimming a year after the accident," he says.
Does he plan to take up swimming seriously and take part in professional sporting events? Harsh replies,"No. I was unable to take part in the Chennai event because I was held up with my exams. And today the reason I swim is to keep myself fit, more than anything. I had put on a lot of weight after the accident."
Though he admits that he does require help to do a lot of things in day to day life, he also feels that it is all in the mind. "As an amputee, you are told there are many things you can't do and you need to know your limitations."
He adds, "Sometimes even my parents tell me not to keep my hopes very high and be realistic. They don't mean to demoralise me, but they don't want me to be disappointed eventually. But, I feel that I am as good as anyone else around and I take inspiration from people around me and I would like to pick up the good things in them," he states, adding, "Most importantly, I don't want people to sympathise with people who are physically challenged. We need the support and encouragement, definitely not the sympathy."
He is pursuing his BBM through correspondence from Bangalore University and says he is yet to figure out his career path.